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Factbox: Leach XPress resumes partial service, full capacity by July 15

Denver — Columbia Gas Transmission on Thursday said it was immediately resuming partial service on its Leach XPress segment, with full service scheduled to return by Sunday, July 15. The news comes after an explosion in Marshall County, West Virginia, suspended operations on June 7, leaving the pipeline under force majeure over the past 35 days.

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CURRENT STATUS

  • Early Thursday, Columbia said the upstream Stagecoach meter had returned to service effective for intraday cycle 1 on Gas Day July 12.
  • Repairs on Leach XPress, upstream of Stagecoach, continue with a resumption of operations at the Eureka, Gibraltar and Majorsville meters expected by July 15.

FLOWS

  • Wednesday's evening-cycle nominations for Gas Day July 12 showed flow volumes at the Stagecoach meter at zero, but are subject to revision during subsequent intraday cycles on Thursday, S&P Global Platts Analytics data shows.
  • Upstream receipts at Stagecoach are likely to return to levels near the pre-explosion average of 230 MMcf/d by later Thursday.
  • Flows at Eureka, Gibraltar and Majorsville were at zero on Thursday, where they are expected to remain until the resumption of full capacity on the pipeline Sunday.

PRODUCTION

  • Flows on Columbia's mainline were estimated just below 2.6 Bcf/d Thursday. Mainline flows have averaged 2.6 Bcf/d, or about 1.1 Bcf/d below the pre-explosion average, since June 7.
  • Upstream production continues to be rerouted to Dominion Transmission, Rockies Express Pipeline, Rover Pipeline, Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Texas Eastern Transmission with flows still elevated Thursday. Since the June 7 incident, cumulative receipts on the dense network of alternate pipes are up by an average 1.3 Bcf/d.
  • In spite of the force majeure on Leach XPress, Appalachian gas production has climbed about 3% since early June. Over the past seven days, total Northeast production has averaged nearly 28 Bcf/d, compared to a 27.2 Bcf/d average in the week prior to the incident.
  • PRICES

  • On Thursday, prices at Dominion South and Texas Eastern M2 receipts, which initially experienced downward pressure following the declaration of force majeure, were up about 11 cents and both trading near $2.28/MMBtu, preliminary S&P Global Platts pricing data showed.
  • Prices at Columbia Gas Appalachia, which saw upward pressure following the explosion, were flat on the day Thursday, trading around $2.69/MMBtu.

REGULATORY

  • TransCanada on Wednesday told federal regulators a landslide was the "apparent cause" of the explosion on Leach XPress, although the incident is still being investigated.
  • The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on Monday issued a Notice of Proposed Safety Order to TransCanada, giving the midstream operator 30 days to respond.
  • Since the incident, six other points along the pipeline have been identified as "areas of concern," according to TransCanada, based on the areas land and soil conditions.
  • Actions proposed by PHMSA include mechanical and metallurgical testing of the failed section, installation of strain gauges near the failure, hydrostatic testing of any new pipe installed, and a review of past records.

--J. Robinson, jrobinson@spglobal.com

--Eric Janssen, Eric.Janssen@spglobal.com

--Maya Weber, maya.weber@spglobal.com

--Edited by Joe Fisher, joe.fisher@spglobal.com